On Monday night the Houston-Baku Sister City Association in cooperation with the Azerbaijan Center hosted more than 100 guests from Houston’s international community for a reception at the historical Houston City Hall to celebrate the Anniversary of Azerbaijan’s Republic Day.
The event was attended by delegates of Houston-based consulates and city officials including co-host and Mayor Pro-Tem Councilman Ed Gonzalez, Andy Icken, Mayor Annise Parker’s Chief Development Officer, The Consul General of Mexico and his wife Dr. and Mrs. Malpica, the Consul General of Turkey Cemalettin Aydin, Greek Consul Genearl Georgios Papanikolaou, Trustee Erica Lee, Harris County School Board Position 1, and Lynn Strickland, VP of Exploration for ConocoPhillips. In addition to our guests we also had esteemed representatives from the congressional offices of Congressmen Ted Poe and Steve Stockman, and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. Also present were representatives of Houston’s business, cultural, educational, non-profit communities and many Azerbaijanis living in Houston.
The celebration recognized the 95th anniversary of the establishment of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR), the first secular and democratic republic in the Muslim and Turkic world. Azerbaijan People’s Republic was declared on May 28, 1918 in Tbilisi by the Azerbaijan National Council headed by Mahammad Amin Rasulzadeh. Over the 23 months of its existence prior to Bolshevik occupation of Azerbaijan in April 1920, ADR succeeded in restoring the territorial integrity of the country, in securing the international recognition of Azerbaijan, and in establishing democratic institutions, including the Parliament and the multi-party representative government. Among other key achievements of the first republic were the 1919 universal suffrage law, granting women the right to vote, ahead of the United States and some European nations; the establishment of Baku State University; and the adoption of the modern national symbols of Azerbaijan, including its tri-color flag, anthem and the coat of arms.
Co-host of the event was Houston City Council Member, the Honorable Edward “Ed” Gonzalez. Councilman Gonzalez is a close friend of the Azerbaijani community and will be attending this month’s US-Azerbaijan Conference in Baku. After his speech about the strong relationship between Houston and Baku, Councilman Gonzalez presented the Mayor of Houston’s proclamation declaring 28th of May as Azerbaijan’s Republic Day in Houston.
A special thanks also to our friends at the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) for their generous financial contribution that allowed this event to take place.